Now more than ever, financial planners are being cautioned not to ignore veteran benefits when working with those individuals who have served or are serving in the United States military. Today in this country there are more than 20 million veterans, many of whom served in the nation’s most recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, but some of whom served as far back as the Korean War and even World War II.
When spouses and children or other immediate family members are factored in, it equates to approximately 60 million people throughout the country who could be eligible for some level of financial assistance from the US Department of Veteran Affairs.
Despite the significant number of veterans and family members eligible for benefits, however, only a small percentage of them are accessing those resources, largely because the rest are simply unaware that such benefits exist and are available to them.
Another problem, however, is that many of these benefits that the DVA offers are based on need, and most financial planners have client rosters whose liquid assets exceed the $80,000 limit, in addition to having income that is too high for them to be eligible to receive the benefits.
With this in mind, many believe that it is the responsibility of the financial planners working with veterans to know about the benefits available to them and make them aware of what they are entitled to.
JJ Montanaro, a US Army veteran, West Point graduate, and currently a financial planner with USAA Bank, says that because of the high number of disabled and aging veterans in the United States, planners need to take it upon themselves to visit the Department of Veteran Affairs website and familiarize themselves with all of the benefits that are available to veterans. This will ensure their eligible clients connect with the appropriate VA personnel in order to properly file all of the necessary paperwork to begin receiving the compensation they have coming to them.